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The Secret Behind the Front Cover of my Book

When I asked on Instagram a few weeks ago if you’d be interested in some behind-the-scenes scoop of the making of Caffeinate Your Soul, it was an overwhelming HECK YES. So, here we are. 😉 The front cover of CYS went on a JOURNEY before becoming what it actually is today, so it felt like a fun thing to pull back the velvet curtain on, so to speak. It deserved it’s own blog post for a few reasons.

1.) It’s a fun story.

2.) It’s an encouraging story.

3.) I’m really freaking proud of my mom and really freaking proud of this book.

(I also talk about this story in last week’s THRIVE podcast episode, so if you prefer listening to fun stories, don’t miss that! AND ICYMI, here’s the whole gist of the book in the first place…)

The Secret Behind the Front Cover of my Book, CAFFEINATE YOUR SOUL... - on Coming Up Roses

I had a few different visions for the front cover of my book from the get go.

First, I tried for a coffeeshop-latte vibe.

Instagram-worthy latte art on a cozy coffee cup, sitting on a neat little table that screams “get lost here for a Tuesday.”

I went to a local cafe and apparently not a one barista present knew how to make latte art, but Lord help us all they were willing to try.

And try they did – and they got something resembling “art” and we called it a day, and I took about a hundred and fifty two shots with my own camera, standing on the table like a crazy person in the coffeshop.

My publisher’s design team started playing around with title text, but nothing was clicking. I didn’t love anything – frankly, I didn’t even really like anything. And it definitely didn’t have the right creative vibe for the project. (Here’s a shot of it below…)

The Secret Behind the Front Cover of my Book, CAFFEINATE YOUR SOUL... - on Coming Up Roses

So, I scratched it entirely and tried to come up with something that better embodied this very active idea of CAFFEINATING your soul.

I mean, “caffeinating” itself is an action – it’s the actual pouring into of your cup, and in this case, your soul.

So it had to feel like being poured into, amiright???

Next, I envisioned two coffee cups cheers-ing together. Ideally, two iced coffees, with beautifully swirling insides of coffee meeting cream for this very “active” feeling of fueling up with a girlfriend. In my head it spoke to what this book really feels like for me (and hopefully for you, too!) – a long-anticipated coffee date with your bestie.

I paid a butt-ton of money to a “professional” photographer in the hopes of making it happen.

The first mistake was entrusting Starbucks with the coffee order before driving to a photography studio; we ended up with black coffee and cups of cream, which was not the key to a beautiful swirling cheers shot. Instead, we got what looked like lukewarm coffee and hands.

It didn’t feel right, it didn’t look right, and heck – the text didn’t fit right, either.

Here’s what the basic background shot looked like…

The Secret Behind the Front Cover of my Book, CAFFEINATE YOUR SOUL... - on Coming Up Roses

Pretty, sure, but didn’t just didn’t feel like IT.

My next thought felt like a winner winner chicken dinner, but I knew I really wanted my mom to help bring the Caffeinate Your Soul cover to life. ICYMI, my mom shoots the VAST majority of CUR content with me because she moonlights as my photographer! She’s SO good and has such a natural eye, so I knew she’d just get my creative idea, and she also has a make it happen mindset like me where we could shoot and shoot until we got it right.

So…we did exactly that.

We took a Saturday afternoon and hit the streets – literally.

My dad brought over a CRAP TON of old Maxwell house coffee – enough for pitchers upon pitchers of the stuff. Caffeinating not just our souls, but the whole dang neighborhood. I grabbed a few mugs and we just started shooting; I was pouring coffee from above as my mom captured everything. The culdesac smelled like a fresh brew and was literally flowing through the storm drains, so I think elderly neighbors might’ve confused our photoshoot for an espresso rain. 😉 We tried SO MANY different iterations of a shot before landing on what we loveloveloved and what you see on the cover today – which was shot in front of our garage.

This is so encouraging to me (+ hopefully to you) for a few reasons.

First, you don’t need to pay a lot of money or have a lot of resources to make something worthwhile and beautiful. I mean, this isn’t a no brainer – there’s art around us everyday made from nothing at all. The best shot wasn’t the one that cost way too much money in a “professional” studio, or even the one that involved an overly-priced vanilla latte prop.

It came from cheap jugs of old Maxwell House in my driveway.

If you have the vision + the talent, you can make it happen. Money won’t be your breaking point. Just make the most with whatever you’ve got, whenever + wherever you’ve got it.

The Secret Behind the Front Cover of my Book, CAFFEINATE YOUR SOUL... - on Coming Up Roses

Second, my mom was really scared of the word “professional” photographer.

She didn’t go to photography school – she’s a nurse by trade (and a freaking great one at that). She taught herself everything she knows on a camera from Instagram and YouTube and a whole lotta Googling.

But as Katie kindly pointed out to her, she’s gotten paid to pick up a camera and take pictures with it, so by technical definition, she’s a pro. 😉 BUT ANYWAY MY POINT is that never did she ever think that she’d be taking a picture with a camera that would end up on the cover of a BOOK on Amazon and in Barnes and Noble and whatever other shelves this bad boy ends up.

But she works so hard and doesn’t quit and just does the dang thing, and LOOK AT THAT.

Don’t let yourself be limited by labels and titles. Follow your passion and work really freaking hard at it whenever you possibly can. Don’t shy away admitting when you don’t know something – that’s what gives you the chance to figure it out, or to do a little digging and learn something new. My mom has NEVER assumed that she was too good to study from someone, and I frequently catch her at my house flipping through the little paper manual that comes with in the camera box. She’s a constant student at the craft, always down to experiment, and frequently critiquing her own work to see how she can improve in the future.

All that to say, it makes it all the more special to me that my very first BOOK is covered by the most beautiful, epic shot that my mom took on my camera in our driveway. Just like I started my blog as a broke college student in a too-tiny dorm room and not as some citygoing, socialite, Martha Stewart-wannabe living off a rich husband. It just speaks to not needing to be the stereotypical definition of “professional” before doing something pretty pro. 😉

So that’s our story and I’m stickin’ to it! The story behind the front cover of Caffeinate Your Soul. 🙂

Have you pre-ordered a copy of Caffeinate Your Soul yet?

I cannot say thankyou enough to all of you who have been so excitedly pre-ordering copies for yourselves + for your friends/family (it makes a GREAT Mother’s Day gift, and it officially releases a week before Mother’s Day!).

This book is FOR you and was brought to life BECAUSE of you, so again, THANKYOU!!!

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